Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book 83: Jane Boleyn The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford

Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox was an interesting look into the life during the Henry the VIII reign. This book was able to capture the life and times of that era while maintaining a very readable narrative. But the biggest fault was that there was a lot of information truly about Jane Boleyn that could be shared.

Jane Boleyn lived an interesting life by working in the privy chambers of several of the Queens of Henry VIII. She was able to rise in the court at first due to the fact her sister in-law (Anne Boleyn) became Queen. But unlike Anne and her own husband, she was able to live through the trials. Then she worked for Jane Seymour and Katherine Howard. But it wasn’t until she helped Katherine Howard set up clandestine meetings with her lover, that she was to lose her life.

I loved how Julia Fox really was able to bring the life and times of Henry the VIII to life. The book was so well researched and it was able to really capture so much. At times you could almost feel like you were there. The book actually read more like a narrative then it did a history book. Which was refreshing. It wasn’t overwrought with superfluous sentence structure.

But the book had one major short coming. Many aspects of Jane Boleyn’s life didn’t survive through history. We actually don’t know for sure if she attended many key events. It’s probable that she did, but we don’t really know for sure. But that is the price of trying to focus on someone who was around the major players but not necessarily a major player until later on in her life. It wasn’t until later when her name took on the name the Infamous Lady Rochford title developed and that was by people who focused on how she testified against Anne and George Boleyn (thus leading to their deaths).This myth is false since she was executed solely due to the fact she helped Katherine commit adultery, not her Boleyn family ties.

At times Julia Fox seemed to repeat the theme that Jane Boleyn was childless. While it’s important to realize, but the way she would word things made it seem like that the author could relate with Jane all too well and was hoping for children of her own.

But I enjoyed Jane Boleyn a lot. I’m glad that I listened to the minority vote (I asked three friends if I should read about a Russian Spy, Jane Boleyn or a tennis star-technically the spy won and will be read as my next nonfiction book). It was a good read. I learned a lot about the era and a fair amount about Jane Boleyn despite the fact that there wasn’t always a lot of historical documentation about Jane herself.

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